Choosing the Perfect Photo for a Cemetery Monument

Stone cemetery monuments have been used for hundreds of years to mark the final resting places of lost loved ones. They haven't really changed a great deal in all that time because the name of the person, the dates they were alive and a few meaningful words is about as perfect a formula as you can get.

One popular recent innovation, however, is the addition of a photograph. Not everyone chooses to have a photo on their loved one's headstone, but it's becoming increasingly common as an extra way to make the monument personal and unique. If you've decided to include a photo on someone's headstone, make sure you follow these tips to get the perfect result.

Choosing the picture

There are probably quite a few nice pictures of the person in question, and choosing one for people to remember them by forever is a tall order. There's one way to narrow down your options, however.

In general, it's better to choose a fairly close-up portrait that focuses on the person's face or has their head and shoulders in the frame. Full-body shots can work, but because they're normally quite small on the monument, they're not as easy to see.

Getting the format right

Some photos are portrait format, or vertical, while others have the long, horizontal landscape format. Make sure you get the right one for the type of photo monument you've chosen. If you're not sure, take your pictures to the stonemason and ask their advice.

Checking the quality

Most photos taken on cameras or modern phones are good enough quality to get a sharp image. The best way to tell, however, is to print the picture out on paper of a similar size to what it will be on the monument.

Look for any blurriness or pixelation and reject photos that aren't sharp and clear. These problems can become even more noticeable on the finished result.

Choosing suitable colours

There are two main ways photos are put on monuments: printing on porcelain and laser etching. When they're printed on porcelain, the colours should come out very similar to the original image. Sometimes, however, certain colours like bright reds or pinks can be a bit more muted, so ask your stonemason for advice if the picture has significant amounts of these shades.

If you're having the picture laser-etched, convert it to greyscale to get a better idea of how it will look. If you can't do this, ask a computer-savvy friend or family member to do it for you.

With laser-etching, it's also best to use photos where there isn't much in the frame except the person's face. Busy backgrounds can come out unclear, so try to find a photo with a plain background and little else in the picture.

If you're unable to find a suitable picture, you might be able to find someone who can remove undesirable parts of the image on a computer. Your stonemason may even offer a photo-editing service, so make sure you ask them.